Practising gratitude can be more or less innate to one’s temperament, or it can also be a learnt skill, just like a muscle that strengthens and gets to know itself better through movement. It’s easy enough to feel grateful when things go our way, but practising gratitude can be more testing when things do not go to plan.
Being in my garden, and learning from friends how to nurture it, has provided amble training ground. Friendships and gardens can be unpredictable – some things grow beautifully where first placed, while other plants or relationships wither, hibernate, disappear, or pop up where not invited.
However our endeavours turn out in life, we usually start with hope and end with something learnt and this is certainly the case when gardeners make cuttings from plants. Whether it is a cutting from the softwood, hardwood or leaf sections of a plant, it is a gift of potential. No promises. You can expect from it, but you’re going to have to accept what it chooses to offer in the end.
Many gardening books are inspiring but also daunting. Rarely do our own gardens or realities live up to the large, glossy images contained in how-to-guides. The most magnificent thing about people preparing cuttings for me is not how they look in the garden now. Most have not survived. But the intentions and actions of others in wishing for such growth remain present.
Many of the cuttings or plants have not survived because the conditions weren’t right for them. Although I can’t instagram them now, each offering of a cutting existed and mattered despite there being no guarantees. I recall the vision and generosity of those who delivered them to me as I stay with gratitude. We can find gratitude in a range of the everyday, ordinary, extraordinary, and more difficult parts of our lives if we choose to remember or look for long enough.
When we practise gratitude often the wonderful and known blessings can first come into focus. As we stay present more aspects, surprises, new knowledge and new ways of looking at things can expand our hearts. Often it includes letting go of coulda-shoulda-beens and having a good look around, at both the visible and less visible. Gardens, like friendships, can take time to establish and while not all of them evolve in ways we first thought, we can always be grateful for their lessons.